ASUS ENGTX280 TOP (HTDP/1G/A)
A view from the top
- Unmatched in speed and performance, three-way SLI for x3 processing power, included goodies and software, low power consumption
- Prohibitively expensive, no HDMI adaptor
The Asus ENGTX280 TOP (HTDP/1G/A) is the fastest and most powerful graphics card we've ever had the pleasure of testing. However, at its current price point, some users may be better off with a multi-GPU solution, via Crossfire or SLI.
Price$ 699.00 (AUD)
The Asus ENGTX280 TOP (HTDP/1G/A) is an enthusiast-level graphics card based on NVIDIA's 10th generation of GeForce GPUs (graphics processing units). According to Asus, this overclocked model offers a 12 per cent performance boost over the standard GTX 280 board, which currently sports the most powerful GPU on the market. This places the ENGTX280 TOP (HTDP/1G/A) at the upper-end of the 3-D food chain. However, at $699, it is perhaps a little overpriced when compared to some of its inferior competitors. Nevertheless, if you're a hardcore gamer requiring the best performance that money can buy, you definitely won't be disappointed.
Before we review Asus' current take on the GTX 280, let's take a look at the reference board's new architecture. If you were disappointed with NVIDIA's ninth generation of GeForce graphics cards — which were a minor evolution at best — then the GeForce 200 Series should definitely make amends. With a whopping 1.4 billion transistors, it is currently the largest chip that NVIDIA has ever produced. (By contrast, the 9800 GTX — NVIDIA's previous big daddy — only had 754 million transistors). The flagship GTX 280 version sports 240 stream processors and a 512-bit memory bus, plus a full gigabyte of GDDR3 memory. In practice, this allows gamers to max out settings and resolutions in the latest games while still maintaining playable frame rates.
As mentioned above, Asus has also made some additional tweaks to the reference board for an added boost to performance. The core clock has been increased from 602MHz to 670MHz, while the memory clock now sits at 2.4GHz (up from 2.2GHz). The shader clock has also received a substantial boost, leaping from 1296MHz to 1460MHz. Having not tested the standard GTX 280 board, we can't comment on how significant these speed boosts are in practice, but for the record Asus claims an improvement of 12 per cent. In any event, the ENGTX280 TOP is certainly the fastest graphics card we've ever looked at. No other card has come close to matching it in our benchmarks.
In 3DMark06, the ENGTX280 TOP received an overall score of 12725. This was a somewhat unspectacular improvement over Gigabyte's GeForce 9800 GTX (GV-NX98X512H-B), which received an overall score of 12074 — a difference of just 651 marks. Thankfully, our gaming tests delivered more favourable results.
When we ran the game F.E.A.R., the ENGTX280 TOP returned an average frame rate of 154fps (frames per second.) The 9800 GTX, on the other hand, only managed 80fps on the same test bed. In the system-hogging DirectX 10 game Crysis, the ENGTX280 TOP averaged 37.32fps, which is one of the fastest results we've seen from this game with maximum settings enabled. (ATI's current flagship offering, the ATI Radeon HD 4870, was almost half as fast; it managed an average frame rate of just 20.5fps.) The DX10 version of the game Lost Planet: Extreme Conditions returned a phenomenal frame rate of 97.5fps, compared to the 9800 GTX's 32fps. In our Call of Juarez DX10 demo, the ENGTX280 TOP averaged 50.9fps; an improvement of nearly 20fps over the 9800 GTX.
It's clear from these results that the ENGTX280 TOP is one serious performer, but it's also prohibitively expensive. For the same price, you could buy two ATI Radeon HD 4870s and combine them in a CrossFire configuration. It might therefore be advisable to wait a few months until this card comes down in price. On the plus side, Asus has thrown in a leather CD booklet and mouse mat in an attempt to sweeten the deal. The product also ships with ASUS' Gamer OSD utility, an overclocking tool that allows you to adjust clock speeds in-game as well as capture videos of game footage. (Curiously though, Asus has neglected to include an HDMI adaptor in the sales package.)
Design & power consumption
GeForce graphics cards are typically a bit larger than their Radeon equivalents, and the ENGTX280 TOP is no exception. With overall dimensions of 110x270x38mm, it's going to be a tight fit for smaller PC cases — especially if you plan to set up an SLI configuration. Furthermore, the card requires both an 8-pin and 6-pin PCIe power connector to run, which makes installing multiple boards all the more cumbersome. (With that being said, most prospective buyers of the ENGTX280 TOP will own a gaming PC with plenty of room for components.)
If you're conscious about power consumption, then the ENGTX280 TOP (HTDP/1G/A) will give you another reason to smile. Despite being one of the most powerful cards on the market, its idle power consumption stands at just 25 Watts. (This is thanks to the inclusion of clock-gating circuitry, which shuts down certain parts of the GPU during non-peak usage.)
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Subaru XV 2017 review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 Kogan Atlas UltraSlim Pro laptop: full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
Latest News Articles
- EVGA's GTX 1080 FTW2 and SC2 graphics cards get updated with faster memory
- Qualcomm: First Windows 10 ARM PC coming in the fourth quarter
- User-created patch lets Kaby Lake and Ryzen PCs receive Windows 7 updates
- Samsung ready to make chips faster than the ones in Galaxy S8
- Prices of SSDs and DRAM will crash in 2019, Gartner predicts
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5 CPU Australian review
- Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTUI/UX DesignerSA
- TPStrategic Business AnalystVIC
- CCSenior Business Analyst - Mobile ApplicationsQLD
- FTSecurity AnalystACT
- FTSenior Data ConsultantWA
- TPWeb DeveloperNSW
- CCSAP FIORI Technical SpecialistQLD
- CCSystems Specialist - Network Systems l Port MacquarieQLD
- FTSales Lead - Healthcare systemsVIC
- CCIT SAS Visual Analytics DeveloperVIC
- CCSystems AdminNSW
- CCProject Manager - Security - TelcoVIC
- FTLevel 2 Software & Hardware Support position.VIC
- CCSystems EngineerNSW
- FTDeveloper - Python, Ruby, or PerlQLD
- CCIntegration ArchitectACT
- TPProduct ManagerVIC
- CCBusiness Specialist - Data ManagementNSW
- CCProject CoordinatorACT
- CCPersonal AssistantNSW
- FTUX DesignerNSW
- FTOSS Developer - BPM (Business Process Manager) SMEVIC
- FTSenior / Lead AEM DeveloperNSW
- CCTechnical Requirements Architect - NV1ACT
- CCBusiness AnalystNSW